Kerala paid the price of gross negligence during Onam festivities: Dr Harsh Vardhan on COVID-19 surge

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday answered many inquisitive social media interactors on the sixth episode of Sunday Samvaad. Offering his heartfelt wishes for Navaratri, he exhorted his followers to honour the Prime Minister’s call for Jan Andolan and religiously follow COVID appropriate behaviour becoming its ambassador to others. He reiterated his request to everyone to celebrate at home with their loved ones in the traditional way.

“This festive season, charity must take precedence over celebration. My own celebrations too shall remain subdued due to the heart rending impact of COVID19 on lakhs of corona warriors across the world battling for us”, the Union Health Minister stated.

The Union Minister shared his views on the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Kerala. Noting that between January 30 & May 3, Kerala had reported just 499 cases and 2 deaths due to COVID-19, he regretted that Kerala was paying the price of gross negligence during the recent Onam festivities when State-wise unlocking of services, along with an increase in inter and intrastate travel for trade and tourism, led to the spreading of COVID-19 cases across various districts.

Slamming the Kerala government, Harsh Vardhan said, “Epicurve of Kerala changed completely due to Onam festivities across the State, the daily new cases nearly doubled.”

The Minister said this ought to serve as a good lesson for all the state government which were being negligent in planning for the festival season.

Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked that although there are no intranasal COVID-19 vaccines under trial in India at the moment, Serum India and Bharat Biotech are expected to pursue clinical trials of such vaccines in India in the coming months on receipt of regulatory approval. He clarified that the Phase III Clinical Trial is generally with thousands of participants, sometimes even close to 30,000 to 40,000 participants. It is possible that from a specific city or hospital, couple of hundred participants are selected at a given time, but in general, the overall Phase III participant pool is much larger.